The Brass Bell — Chapter 5
The Brass Bell
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Chapter Five: Arriving in Gallinas
“Coronado and his men visited many villages in search of the seven cities of gold. Starving and tired, they would sometimes force their way into the villages and take what they needed.”
– Coronado and the Golden Cities
Karol, Hector and Felix walked side by side into the town of Gallinas. Tired and hungry, the trio marched on, determined to find the treasure.
“All right, navigator,” Karol teased. “Which way?”
“Um, well, let me think,” Hector searched their surroundings. A row of businesses lined Main Street, very much like Corona. But this town was bigger.
“Look!” Felix pointed down the street. “They have a theater!”
“And a bowling alley!” Karol added.
“Shhh … listen!” Hector said, tilting his head. “Do you hear that?”
It took a minute for Felix and Karol to hear it.
“Ah, it’s the merengue!” Karol announced, with a little bit of a dance motion.
“What’s that supposed to be? You feeling OK?” Hector laughed.
“Shut up, Hector,” Karol’s cheeks turned a dark shade of red.
“I was just playing with you,” Hector apologized. “You’re actually pretty good.”
“Let’s go see where the music is coming from,” Felix said, heading toward the center of town.
“Over there, at the park!” Hector was the first to spot the crowd. “It looks like a party!”
They walked until they were at the edge of the park. The smell of burritos, enchiladas, beans and salsa made its way to the hungry trio. They could see decorations and a large piñata hanging from a tree branch.
“I’d give my right arm for a burrito about now,” Hector said, licking his lips.
“I’d give my giant, purple, swollen ankle for just one taco!” Felix joined in.
“I’d give both of you away for one single tortilla chip!” Karol laughed. And before they knew what had happened, she was in the middle of the party. She was laughing and talking and pointing back to the two dirty, tired and slightly starving boys.
“What do you think she’s doing?” Felix whispered.
“Well, I think she’s earning her tortilla chip!” Hector quickly answered as Karol returned.
“OK, you two, let’s go!” She motioned toward the party.
“I knew it! You sold us, didn’t you!” Hector said, pointing an accusing finger in her face.
“No, genius! That’s my Aunt Rosa and my cousins. They invited us to come and eat.”
“Thanks, Karol!” both boys said over their shoulder, heading to the picnic tables.
“So, Felix,” Tia Rosa began, “Karol said you’ve been reading about the explorer, Coronado.”
“Yes ma’am, that’s right,” Felix could barely speak, with both cheeks full of food. He tried to reach into his backpack to show her the book and spilled his plate. “Thanks again, unlucky bell,” he said under his breath.
“Here, Felix, use this,” Karol handed him a napkin.
“You should meet Demetri – he’s kind of an explorer,” Rosa said. “He’s originally from Russia and has been in the United States for about a year. He’s a taxi driver.”
Rosa walked Felix over to an unusual-looking man. He wore a brightly colored shirt, leather sandals and had a long, gray ponytail.
“How in the world can you make any money as a taxi driver out here in the middle of nowhere?” Felix asked, trying not to sound rude.
“Ah, young man!” Demetri said in a loud, strong Russian voice. “That’s what makes it exciting! I never know who I’ll meet or where I’ll go. Every day is a new adventure for me and my companion, Misha!” His voice echoed across the park and his arms swung around the whole time he spoke.
“It was nice meeting you, Demetri,” Felix said, slowly backing away from the loud man. “But my friends and I have a treasure to find.”
“Good luck on your adventure,” Demetri bellowed.
“Same to you!” Felix said, shaking Demetri’s big, sweaty hand.
“Thank you very much for the amazing food!” Felix told Rosa.
“You’re welcome. But promise me that next time you’re coming to Gallinas, you’ll give me a call. I’d be happy to pick you up,” Rosa said, hugging Karol goodbye.
And they were once again walking down Main Street, with full bellies and renewed excitement.
“Are we almost there?” Karol asked, when it seemed as if they were approaching the other end of town.
“No, we’re not almost there,” Hector said. “We are there!” He stopped in front of a large brick building. They stood looking up at the big sign hanging on the front, and they all knew that they had finally arrived.
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Written by Cathy Sewell and illustrated by Blaise Sewell of The Curriculum Closet